$13M being invested to boost New GMC’s extension services
Thirteen motorcycles and three all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) valued $13 million are to be bought by the end of July to enhance the extension services at the New Guyana Marketing Corporation (New GMC).
This development is another demonstration of the PPP/C Government fulfilling its pledge to farmers and producers to invest in agriculture to secure their livelihoods, and expand the sector.
Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha has pointed out, several times, that thousands of farmers had been significantly affected by the APNU/AFC administration’s “don’t care attitude.”
“I have recognised that the last government failed our farmers when it came to extension services. Farmers were not accessing the service. They were not satisfied with the service and this meant they could not increase production or productivity.”
On Monday, New GMC’s General Manager, Ms. Teshawna Lall commended the procurement, noting that transportation was identified as one of the issues hindering field work.
“This will help our staff to get into the farmlands easier. By strengthening our extension department, we will be able to gather a larger database of crop production for our marketing purposes.
This will enhance the timeliness and reliability as well as how we respond and follow up on issues facing our farmers. I must reiterate that a lot of focus will be placed on the extension department as it relates to them assisting agro-processors,” Ms. Lall relayed.
In keeping with the Government’s mandate to meet farmers at the grassroots level, she said swift action would be taken to improve the New GMC’s services, specifically for those farmers in far-flung areas.
The General Manager noted that there has to be a new approach to operations at the agency for a better outcome.
The ATVs will be distributed to Regions One and Seven, while the motorcycles are expected to assist extension officers in Regions Two, Three, Four, Five, Six and Ten.
Meanwhile, Minister Mustapha said the New GMC will continue to be more responsive to the needs of the people of Guyana.
“We will ensure that we spend the resources to give you the kind of guidance needed, and establish the necessary infrastructure. We will work along with farmers to produce … and will work overtime to meet their needs,” he said.
Some $28 million was allocated in this year’s national budget to improve extension services.